Expanding Views of Evolution and Causality
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Ever since Darwin published his Origin of Species, evolutionary theory has been expanded step by step. The last fundamental theoretical expansion is known as the ‘Modern Evolutionary Synthesis’. It represents the fusion of Mendel’s theory of inheritance and population genetics in the early and mid-20th century. In the last 20 years, evolutionary theory is undergoing a new phase of expansion. It is driven by research results on the interplay between developmental and evolutionary processes in fields such as epigenetics, niche construction theory, and evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo). Researchers in these fields emphasize that the dynamic regulatory processes during embryo- and morphogenesis as well as organisms’ environmental responsiveness and activity should be considered more seriously in evolutionary theory. This novel perspective is coined ‘Extended Evolutionary Synthesis’ (Laland et al. 2015).
Around ten years ago, in 2008, Massimo Pigliucci and Gerd Müller organized...
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